Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Teliah Stephens– Stationhand, Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
It’s amazing where life’s journey will take you, the people you meet, how they come and go from our lives, the opportunities that present themselves when you least expect it. I like to think that everything happens for a reason and the best thing you can do is grab the bull by the horns and not let opportunities pass you by because you never know where they will take you.
Here I am doing what I love.
In 2013 I graduated from WA’s college of agriculture in Harvey, ready to follow my dreams working on an outback cattle station, something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I can remember. First things first, I applied for a couple jobs with no luck but didn’t give up. I knew something would come up sooner or later. It ended up being sooner rather than later. The perfect opportunity came to work as a station hand for Yougawalla Pastoral Company based at Bulka Station and before I knew it, was rolling my swag and heading for the beautiful Kimberley.
My horse Nightley and I arrived in the Kimberley.
I couldn’t begin to tell you all the amazing adventures I’ve had since then, the things I’ve learnt, seen, people I have met and the amazing people I have worked for also some of the great opportunities that have come my way since then. Every year just like all stations, people come and go, some you only know briefly, some you may know for a long time to come, and some come into your life for a specific purpose that you may not understand at the time. During my time at Yougawalla I gained so much knowledge and was given countless opportunities to learn new skills and develop old ones and I have found that every one of them useful. Even if it was as simple as learning a different way to strain a fence, driving a truck, or moving cattle around the yards. It was all worthwhile. For example, though there are many I could list, last year I was given the chance to work with the legendary Robin Prince, who at the time was doing some contract yard building and fencing. At first I wasn’t too keen. I didn’t like welding – hated the sparks – but I got over that and before I knew it was welding like a pro (personal opinion!) Not only did I learn an amazing new skill and so much more while rebuilding the house yards, I had an absolute blast and was so grateful for the opportunity.
Learning to weld at the Bulka Homestead Yards with Robin Prince.
In 2015 (2nd year at YPC) we had an equine dentist and horse handler, Ben Dobson, come out to the station to do all the horses teeth and break in a couple youngsters and work some of the naughtier station horses. Fortunately for me due to my obvious love for horses my boss gave me the opportunity to go and work with Ben as his offsider. I was really keen and beside myself at the opportunity. Lucky I did, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now, I’ll get to where that is shortly.
Learning handling skills at Yougawalla Station.
I did about a month of work with Ben while he was at Yougawalla Station helping with the breakers and other station horses and again I learned so much during this time. After Ben left, I kept in contact with him, keeping him up to date on the progress of the breakers and what I’ve been up to with them. It was probably mid last year I had just sent Ben an update on one of the breakers as I had been working her with the cattle having great progress. Just in general conversation he offered me the chance to go and work for him over the wet season break, helping him with some horses and working around his property in Queensland. Of course, straight away I was very keen, there is never much going on during the wet and I always end up looking for odd jobs here and there so why not do something I love work with the animals I love and see a different part of Australia?
At the end of 2016 I made the decision booked a plane ticket, packed my bags and headed for QLD. I spent a month with Ben and his amazing family working on their horse property. Riding just about every day working with horses, I learned so much and finally I worked up enough courage to ask Ben about his equine dentistry. Something that has had my attention for a while but was never sure how to get into it or where to start. Before I knew it I had just scored myself an apprenticeship in equine dentistry. I couldn’t believe it I was over the moon. What an amazing opportunity. Who would have thought that working with Ben in the desert of the Kimberley would lead to this? And, it all started with a “yes, why not, I’ll go work with the horse breaker”, who at the time I didn’t know from a bar of soap.
Ever heard the term bomb proof?
So my love for station life and working in the outback has been put on hold. I hope to return to that life one day soon and hopefully if all goes well I’ll have this amazing new skill under my belt . . . equine dentist. But who knows what other opportunities may present themselves. I don’t know where this will lead me but I’m excited to find out and take it head on, by the horns. Because you just don’t know where opportunities will take you, I certainly didn’t think I would be spending 2017 in QLD doing a trade with the animals I love but here I am.